Patients wait for hospital beds, as staffing improves

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For over a week, we've been reporting on patients left waiting for a hospital bed. It comes as the Texas Medical Center says hundreds of beds are available as part of the phase two surge.

A week ago, the CEO of the medical center told ABC13 that beds were not the issue, in some cases, it was staffing that was causing a delay. So while they had beds, they didn't always have the staff to treat the patients.

Now, we're hearing staffing has considerably improved.

In fact, according to the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council or SETRAC, which monitors and gathers health care data, 400 plus nurses have been sent to hospitals throughout the region over the past two weeks. SETRAC's CEO says its thanks to the Department of State Health Services filling staffing requests from hospitals.

"Hospitals are now able to staff and open the additional beds planned for this unprecedented crisis," said Darrell Pile, CEO of SETRAC.

At the same time, the Texas Medical Center shows that just 19 percent of its phase two surge beds are in use, meaning 300 more should be available.

So with beds available and staffing improved, why have people still been left waiting this week?

SETRAC's most recent data includes nine hospitals. The data does not include all patients that were waiting, only cases where there were three or more waiting for an ICU bed or 11 or more waiting for a general bed.

As of Thursday, 105 total patients were waiting, 173 were waiting on Wednesday and 273 the day before that. These are all patients, some may have COVID, some may not.

We reached to the Texas Medical Center for comment and as of Friday evening we did not receive a response.

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